If you have read my previous posts you will know that 'non verbal communication' is a biggie for us (especially since the kid can't talk!!). You will now have some idea of how I communicate with Nick even when there is very little 'speech' input/output from me! Obviously, we don't hold major conversations as Nick's interests are limited AND a lack of understanding communication and all that it involves is one of the main core deficits of ASD!
The following two pictures also work extremely well for us. Nick is already aware that he can gain information from looking at us and observing our facial expressions and body language. He is getting quite good at picking up on non verbal cues! Whether he responds to them or not is another story!! :)
I pull exaggerated faces
I shake my head
I might make a little noise
I stop what I am doing and wait (getting better at this!!!!)
(Thank you to M for letting me use these pictures, although I keep forgetting to ask for your permission!!!!)
I love the second picture 'Use declarative communication'. For those folks who are not too sure of what I am talking about....... Declarative, experience sharing communication is any communication that is meant to share your ideas, feelings or experiences. "Declarative language does not require a verbal response. Rather, it invites experience-sharing, and provides an ideal framework for later conversational interactions" - Linda Murphy.
I love that colour! That table is so dirty!
Wow, that bird up there is noisy! I need a bowl for this apple!
It is quite difficult to get into this mode of 'speaking'. We are all so honed into using imperative language.....Imperative communication is any communication that requires a specific “right” answer, or that is making a demand.
What colour is that? Show me the bird
Point to the swing Give me the red block
I know that I use a lot of imperatives with my teenager - "So, how was school? What did you do? Have you got any homework? Did you eat your lunch?” No wonder he shuts down and all I get are grunts!!
Of course, we need to have imperative communication, however, I have cut right back on this type of language with Nick and I generally use around 70% declarative language in all my interactions with him (I need to start doing this with my teenager!!). Nick responds so well to this and I am often blown away with his reaction. We are giving him the opportunity to think for himself, and over time his problem solving and experience sharing has really come on in leaps and bounds!
This stuff is all common sense; however, I am constantly surprised at how these very simple concepts are NOT taken into account, especially with kids on the spectrum!
I am taking time out for a while. I am going away with Allan for ten days!!! Sometimes, just sometimes..... having a child with autism can be a bit of a drag and oh so consuming! I try to maintain a balance but you know it can be a bit much having to put on a smiley face every day. I am really looking forward to the trip, spending time with my husband................ and maybe a little bit of shopping!!